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Torah QueeriesWeekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible$
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Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser, and David Shneer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720127

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720127.001.0001

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It’s the Purity, Stupid: Reading Leviticus in Context

It’s the Purity, Stupid: Reading Leviticus in Context

Parashat Metzora (Leviticus 14:1–15:33)

(p.145) Twenty-Eight It’s the Purity, Stupid: Reading Leviticus in Context
Torah Queeries

Jay Michaelson

NYU Press

This chapter contrasts queer iterations with the lessons Parashat Metzora of Leviticus concerning cultural separation. The text states that seminal and menstrual emissions render a person tameh (“impure”) and instructs how tahara (“purity”) is to be regained after them. These rules are imposed to establish the culture of Israelites, and distinguish them from their neighboring country. Juxtaposing these rules for cultural separation with iterations of religious queer identity, the chapter presents arguments that challenge categories of sexual binarism and dimorphism. For instance, queer theory states that gender and sexual dimorphisms are social constructions that administer power to the powerful, and subject the weak/disfavored to the rule of the strong/favored.

Keywords:   Parashat Metzora, Leviticus, cultural separation, religious queer identity, purity, sexual binarism, dimorphism

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